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How To Tell If You Have Asbestos Shingles

By May 16, 2023May 20th, 2023No Comments
Removal of old asbestos roofing shingles.

Owning a home comes with a lot of responsibility. Knowing how your home is made and with what materials is a good start to maintaining your home. Keep in mind that when you purchase a home, you want to get a thorough breakdown of the materials that were used to construct your home. Having this information handy will keep you and your family safe. Knowing what type of insulation in your attic or shingles that were installed on your roof is important. In some years, homes were built with asbestos shingles and asbestos insulation. How can you tell if you have asbestos shingles? This requires a specialist with the equipment and knowledge to identify asbestos in your shingles.

Let’s take a look at more information regarding asbestos shingles.

What is Asbestos?

The original idea behind asbestos was due to its ability to insulate and its fire-resistant properties. Asbestos happens to be a natural mineral that is found on Earth. Additionally, it has been used by industrial, commercial, and residential builders since the early 1900s. Although we do not mine asbestos in the United States anymore, it is imported from China, Russia, and Kazakhstan.

Standard roofing shingles on a home.

What If I Find Asbestos Shingles?

Finding asbestos shingles is a possibility. As a homeowner, you should not attempt to remove the shingles. Exposure to asbestos could pose health risks. As long as they aren’t disturbed, you face no major health hazard. The moment the shingles start to break down and degrade is the moment when a professional company should be called out to remove them. Be sure to check with your local building codes.

Three Steps to Recognize Asbestos Shingles?

Believe it or not, it is possible to determine if you have asbestos shingles prior to calling on a professional. Let’s take a look at what the best steps are to identify asbestos shingles.

  1. Date of Installation – If you can determine that the roof was installed on a house that was built between the years of 1920 and 1986, it is highly likely that you have asbestos shingles. Additionally, you can inspect the shingles for wear and tear and if they are old, you could potentially see the fibers.
  2. Check the material – If you have asphalt shingles on your roof, it was common that asbestos material was a part of your asphalt shingle. Additionally, the base flashing, roofing felt, and roofing adhesive could contain a trace of asbestos.
  3. Check the shingle type – Asbestos-cement shingles are commonly found on old sheds, low-income housing, and barns. They are made with a mixture of asbestos fibers and cement or asbestos-cement corrugated roofing.

Hire a trained professional to ensure that your home is asbestos free. They can spot asbestos and asbestos-containing products based on their list from the company that are manufacturing asbestos products. Asbestos shingles could also be found in siding shingles and not just roofing materials.

Other Recommended Maintenance

Now that you know about asbestos shingles, let’s take a look at a few other areas of maintenance. If you are thinking about putting a metal roof over shingles, that might not be a good idea. This is because if you need to replace the shingles, you can’t with a roof over it. Also, you won’t know if there is rot or water underneath.

Next, if you are looking to replace your shingled roof, be sure to consider a metal roof. Look into whether or not it is cheaper than a shingled roof. Most likely, it is not cheaper in the beginning. However, it provides you with a longer lifespan.

Lastly, another roofing material to consider is a tile roof. Be sure to read up on how long tile roofs last before making your investment choice.

Asbestos roofing panels being safely removed.

When Do I Call A Professional?

Calling a professional to identify any asbestos in or on your home is key. You don’t want to go and stir up the asbestos fibers into the air and accidentally breathe them in. Call on your local professionally licensed roofing contractor who has experience identifying asbestos in shingles. In some cases, they can identify the asbestos shingles based on the manufacturer. Also, call for a roof inspection. Consequently, your home inspection team can inspect the roof and recommend a reputable licensed roofing contractor.


Understanding the type of shingles that are on your roof is important for keeping your family safe. Consequently, with something as complicated as identifying asbestos shingles, you will want to call your local home inspection team. They can collect samples and send them off for testing if they cannot determine if your shingles are asbestos free. Call on Avalon Home Inspections, to conduct your roofing inspection during a complete home inspection in Atlanta, GA.

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